The 2018 NBA Draft class was a highly touted group and considered one of the best draft classes (at least at the top) in recent years — although, in fairness, that tends to get said a lot in June. However, as we approach the quarter-pole of the regular season, chatter about the Rookie of the Year race and how those rookies are faring has been placed on the backburner due to the never-ending drama produced by the rest of the league.
Still, there are some rookies putting up impressive seasons to this point, and, of course, those struggling to adapt to life in the NBA. Through 20-plus games of their careers it’s impossible to know who will have the best career, who may stumble along the way, and who might be a late bloomer that has it all click at age 25. Still, the comparisons between rookies is unavoidable and the Rookie of the Year race is underway, so we’re here to offer up our rookie rankings for the first month-plus of the season.
Part of the difficulty in evaluating rookies is that those that get big minutes are usually on bad teams with lesser players around them, meaning team peripherals (like offensive and defensive rating) aren’t totally their fault. Those on good teams get lesser minutes and worse counting stats, but look better in other areas. Rookie of the Year almost always goes to the rookie with the best counting stats, and I wouldn’t expect that to change this year, but quickly I’d like to highlight a few rookies that will probably be off the radar much of the year.
Miles Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo, Hamidou Diallo, and Aaron Holiday are all playing smaller roles and playing them well for playoff contending teams. Their raw stats won’t look spectacular, but all four have been impressive in varying amounts of action for good teams, which is usually an indicator that they are all going to be solid NBA players for their careers.
Now, onto our rookie rankings, starting with one of the biggest surprises of this season and someone deserving of a bit of recognition in New York.